[Nexus] NeXus Advisory Committee

Ray Osborn ROsborn at anl.gov
Wed Nov 27 22:08:42 GMT 2002

As those of you present at NOBUGS will be aware, we decided to set up a
formal body to oversee the NeXus format, and, in particular, to produce a
formally ratified specification of the contents of NeXus files.  I am not a
constitutional scholar, so I depended heavily on the example of COMCIFS to
produce a charter for this committee, which I enclose below.  If you have
any comments or suggestions about this, please discuss it on this list.  I
don't suppose anything I've written is controversial, but I would welcome
practical advice.

Unlike COMCIFS, we don't have the IUCr, or any other official body, giving
us legitimacy, so this is a bootstrapping operation.  Once the committee is
established, it will determine the rules to perpetuate itself.  The tricky
thing is to decide on the initial membership.  The aim is to have a single
representative from each major neutron and x-ray facility, and for that
representative to be chosen by a consensus of people at that facility.  I
would therefore request that each interested facility have their own
internal discussion and send me their nomination by December 6.  The main
criterion is that the person is interested in promoting NeXus, is prepared
to make the effort to understand the issues the committee will address, and
will make constructive contributions to the debates.  We intend to have a
workshop in the spring to ratify v1.0 of the existing instrument
definitions, and members of the committee should aim to attend.

If you haven't made a collective decision at your facility by Dec. 6, I will
start approaching individuals myself.  NOBUGS showed that many people have
begun to think long and hard about NeXus, so the expertise is there.  It
just needs coordination.

Here is the proposed charter of the NeXus Advisory Committee.

I. Terms of Reference

The purpose of the NeXus Advisory Committee is to supervise the development
and maintenance of the NeXus common data format for neutron, x-ray, and muon

This purpose includes, but is not limited to, the following activities.

1. To establish policies concerning the definition, use, and promotion of
the NeXus format.

2. To ensure that the specification of the NeXus format is sufficiently
complete and clear for its use in the exchange and archival of neutron,
x-ray, and muon data.

3. To receive and examine all proposed amendments and extensions to the
NeXus format. In particular, to ratify proposed instrument and group class
definitions, to ensure that the data structures conform to the basic NeXus
specification, and to ensure that the definitions of data items are clear
and unambiguous and conform to accepted scientific usage.

4. To ensure that documentation of the NeXus format is sufficient, current,
and available to potential users both on the internet and in other forms.

5. To coordinate with the developers of the NeXus Application Programming
Interface to ensure that it supports the use of the NeXus format in the
neutron, x-ray, and muon communities, and to promote other software
development that will benefit users of the NeXus format.

6. To coordinate with other organizations that maintain and develop related
data formats to ensure maximum compatibility.

II. Membership

The NeXus Advisory Committee will consist of at most one representative from
each major neutron and synchrotron x-ray facility in the world, and a
representative of the muon science community.  Membership would normally be
for a three year renewable term. Members will be nominated by each facility
and approved by the existing committee.  There should be representatives
from different fields of neutron, x-ray, and muon science community, and
from facility computing staff.

III. Organization

1. Accountability
The NeXus Advisory Committee will ensure that their decisions are reported
both on the NeXus web site and on the NeXus mailing list.  Committee
business will be conducted either through a mailing list, to which
non-committee members can subscribe and whose archive will be available on
the web, or through meetings, which will be advertised on the NeXus mailing
list and which non-committee members may attend.

The NeXus Advisory Committee will nominate a Chair to coordinate the
committee's activities.

2. Voting
Only members of the NeXus Advisory Committee will be able to vote on
specific proposals that come under the remit of the committee.  However, all
debates will be conducted publicly and non-committee members are both
allowed and encouraged to participate.

3. Special Interest Groups
The NeXus Advisory Committee will appoint editors to be in charge of
particular groups that wish to specify instrument definitions or develop
specialized uses of the NeXus format. The groups will establish their own
mode of operation, but will be expected to consult widely with the community
relevant to their work, and to refer back to the NeXus Advisory Committee
any matters that involve a change in current NeXus specification.  Specific
proposals produced by these groups will be presented to the NeXus Advisory
Committee for comment and formal ratification.

Dr Ray Osborn                Tel: +1 (630) 252-9011
Materials Science Division   Fax: +1 (630) 252-7777
Argonne National Laboratory  E-mail: ROsborn at anl.gov
Argonne, IL 60439-4845

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